Ground-breaking ideas and unique exhibitors helped the UK’s leading tradeshow for event professionals mark its 35th anniversary in style.
Last year, over 5,000 event professionals braved the snow to reach International Confex during Britain’s worst spell of weather in 30 years. In welcome contrast, 2019 saw glorious sunshine fill the exhibition halls at Olympia London as the show welcomed the UK’s largest gathering of event organisers across two days of industry networking and discussion
Co-located with The Event Production Show and The PA Show, formerly known as Office*, all three events continued to enjoy strong attendance numbers. International Confex welcomed just shy of 8,000 unique visitors, while The Event Production Show (EPS) saw more than 6,000 attendees and The PA Show delivered a training programme to over 4,000 support professionals.
Reporting its highest level of repeat bookings since it purchased the show in 2013, UK media and publishing group Mash Media claimed the event to be a resounding success. Julian Agostini, managing director of Mash Media commented: “This was a really positive week which reconfirmed our passion and desire to deliver for our customers and the communities our exhibitions, events and publications serve. These are exciting times for us with opportunities to build our existing brands and explore new ideas as we expand our team and develop our capabilities”.
Day one highlights included pop star and actor Will Young discussing the challenges of coming out publicly, and how the music industry landscape has shifted to accommodate different forms of gender and sexuality over the last two decades.
A panel of leading figures from the exhibition industry joined EN editor Nicola Macdonald in the EN pavilion for a discussion titled ‘The Acquisition Checklist’ looking at past, present and future trends in acquisitions in front of a packed out crowd.
The day concluded with networking sessions at each of the Mash magazine pavilions, leading onto drinks on the Pergola rooftop bar, providing attendees with a chance to make connections to drive their businesses forward throughout 2019.
Day two kicked off with performing arts promoter Harvey Goldsmith on EPS’ main stage, revealing tales from a legendary career which has seen him work with Queen, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie. He spoke of the value of remaining independent and looked to the future with thoughts on the potential of RFID technology at festivals and gigs.
Author and former political aide Alastair Campbell took to the main stage delivering his views on Brexit, Donald Trump and the changing media landscape. Discussing the importance of being politically active he warned: “if you leave politics to someone else, it might not get done the way you want.”
Closing out day two, panel discussions touched upon the crucial social issues the industry must tackle, including the future of events in an increasingly digital world and the inequalities that women still face.
There were plenty of eye-catching exhibitors to be found on the show floor, from colourful ball pits to bubble machines, tribal drums and reflective glass costumes. Silverstream provided live streaming coverage of the event across the Mash Media websites, huge broadcasting screens in the centre of the floor keeping a buzzing atmosphere going throughout the two days. This year’s exhibitor list featured a raft of prominent names representing the north, not forgetting the good-looking guys and girls at H&E North – we hope you made it to say ‘hi’ and grab our latest issue!
Liz Agostini, Event Director for the event reflected on the power of the show to bring together the best in the business and revealed some exciting news: “Within five minutes of the doors opening, meaningful conversations were taking place and deals were being instigated. The feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive, putting us in a fantastic position as we start the exciting planning phase to move to ExCeL London in 2020”.
International Confex will take place at ExCeL London on 25th and 26th February 2020. Visit International-confex.com.